Elder John Miller

Elder John Miller

Monday, September 14, 2015

Week 4 in Alaska, Anchorage

Dear family

We're losing sunlight rapidly up here. Plus it's raining all the time. So it's pretty great. The trees are getting more and more bare everyday, and it drops below freezing almost every night. It's snowed and stuck this week, but it all melted throughout the day. It should start sticking permanently in a couple of weeks. I'm so excited. It was a pretty good week.

On Monday after I finished emailing our P-day activity was hiking. It was great. On that hike your supposed to bring a gun in case of bears. I had my knife. I was going to go Bear Grills on a bear if I had to. But there weren't any bears, sadly. The hike was beautiful and the view from angel rock was amazing. I did like a 10 foot trust fall onto a bunch of missionaries. There are pictures and stuff. My near death experience for the week happened on the way back to town. We were driving along when this huge bull moose sprints out into the road. This guy was like 2000 pounds of moose. It was massive. Anyway, it sprinted out, did a baseball slide, and sprinted back into the trees. Elder Jesperson swerved in time, but if we had hit the moose it would have crushed the car, right on the passenger side where I was sitting. I was laughing so hard, it was awesome. A literal ton of moose could have smashed me! What a way to go.

Tuesday was much less exciting. I taught my first district meeting training. It was kind of like my first talk in Sacrament meeting. Long winded and never really got to the point. Yeah, it was embarrassing. This is why I tell people to give me more than 2 hours to prepare. We had lessons and stuff, but it was just kind of a bland day.

Wednesday I did something truly Alaskan. I ate Muk Tuk (pretty sure that's how you spell it), or whale, for those that don't know. There's a video. It's probably the second worst flavor of all time (second only to broccoli). It tastes pretty much exactly how you would expect blubber to taste like. And it's chewy. And it squirts a lot of oil. Oh, and the skin layer feels like a scale. But I ate 3 pieces to prove I was tough as nails. Didn't even puke. Though the burps after that were the worst thing ever.

Thursday we went biking for the first time. In our mission we're told to street contact (talking to people on the street, tracting doesn't count. You have to talk about the church for it to count as well, you can't just say hi) 10 people a day. We talked to 30 people. We got 3 investigators out of it. In the words of Daggit "That was nuts!" Yes, I can make angry beavers references. I've worn beaver, it's okay. The best part was when we talked to this guy who said that the second coming would happen when Christ descended in a space ship to take all the good people to a new planet before destroying the Earth Independence Day style. He was one of the nicest people I've ever met too. Just goes to show that you can't judge.

Friday we met Benjamin. We talked to him at a bus stop. He was the nicest person I've talked to so far. He talked to us for a little bit about how the Catholic Church is evil and the signs of the end of times (we didn't agree with him don't worry), but he was super polite about it all. He said that he really appreciates our efforts to bring people closer to Christ and then he asked if we would say a prayer with him, so we did because that's not something we ever refuse to do. As he was walking away to get on his bus he turned to us and said "God loves you boys, more than you can imagine." I don't know what religious denomination he was (he wasn't LDS) or if he was all there in the head, but he was so genuinely kind to everyone (except the Pope. He was not nice about the Pope.) that it made me think. I think I needed that at that moment. It was great.

Saturday we taught like 7 lessons. It was a busy day. We have a pretty good pool of investigators. We're trying to keep it that way. My hands are starting to constantly smell like smoke. I kept trying to figure out why, and I realized it's because I shake the hands of so many smokers. Getting to know these people is powerful. People come to Alaska in many cases because they don't want people to bother them. But after hearing so many people's stories, it seems more like they come here because they're running from something. Everyone has a story (which is true of everyone in the world), but so many of them up here are so sad. It hurts my soul that people have to go through this. One of our investigators is half Eskimo and half Athabaskan, two tribes that don't like each other, so he was ostracized by both of them. Another just lost the father of her children because he drowned in the river. I'm trying the best I can to help everyone, but sometimes it's hard. 

Sunday's are the best days. Church is refreshing and recharging. And we had dinner with two of my favorite members. Sister Bohannan (a single mother of two), her two crazy kids, and Brother Syrap (the guy we had to bring so we could actually go inside, he's awesome). I've learned that I'm good at teaching kids. I can do it so easily. I'm trying to transfer that over into teaching adults, which is significantly more intimidating. But it's coming along. We had these two investigators who were going to drop us, but then we taught them a lesson on the Plan of Salvation and now they aren't dropping us anymore. That was a blessing.

As far as other stuff goes, all is well. I started reading the Old Testament because I knew that's what this seminary year was. I started a couple weeks ago. I'm in Deuteronomy, maybe a bit ahead of you. Old Testament was my favorite year of seminary. I'm going over it again to get better knowledge of the scriptures. I'm studying the Book of Mormon too. Plus the lessons. Lot of studying.

Everything's good in the neighborhood. We just keep chugging along. There's always more to do and more people to help, so we keep going. 

I can write letters whenever so if you write me (this goes for all the other plebeians who read these updates) I'll write you back. I only have like two peoples addresses so that makes it hard. Same with emails. 

Tell Dad I finally figured out the Killer's song "Sam's Town." It's a casino/resort in Las Vegas. I finally get it. So is the London. I just needed a companion from Las Vegas to figure it all out.

As for things I need, I'm pretty much set. I can get hats and gloves, the only thing that would be hard for me to get is a formal pea coat. 

I hope everything is still good back home, keep me posted. I love you all!

Elder Miller

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